CABIN FEVER 2: SPRING FEVER
As it started in, I kind of liked Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever. The school scenes set in with an appealing sarcasm where Ti West is clearly digging his teeth into typical high school life and puncturing the various caricatures to be found there. He never achieves anything in the stratosphere of the mind-boggling Detention (2011) or even the lesser Bad Kids Go to Hell (2012), but does so at least amusingly enough for the rest of the film to hold some promise. Director Larry Fessenden the man behind Wendigo (2001), The Last Winter (2006) and Beneath (2013) has an amusing cameo as a truck driver who undergoes a gory meltdown at a diner with his chest tearing open and then his artificial voicebox spraying blood everywhere. All of this seems promising.
There is even some decent casting, including Marc Senter who made a fine showing as the teenage serial killer in The Lost (2005) and Alexi Wasser, who looks like a young Shelley Long, as the female lead. (Wasser subsequently went onto gain a modest fame for her occasionally amusing blog imboycrazy.com and radio show about her sex life). There is also Mark Borchardt who gained a modest cult name as the wannabe filmmaker profiled in the documentary American Movie: The Making of Northwestern (1999), although it becomes abundantly clear here that Borchardt is no actor.
Thereafter though, Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever seems to lose its way. It is hard to say what in the film represents Ti Wests original vision and what was changed by the producers. Most of Ti Wests other films seem to be observational, to be built up of incidental scenes that slowly build to an overall mood but you never get any of that here. When the film gets to the point of the prom exploding out into blood and gore, it takes a major nosedive. The effects look cheap, cheesy and unconvincing. All that we have from that point on feels like a B-budget splatter film.
The biggest complaint you could make though is that Ti West seems to miss the tone of Cabin Fever. Eli Roth was making a horror comedy that came drenched in gore while featuring some amusingly sarcastic asides and in-jokes to anyone who had grown up in the 1980s horror genre. Ti West seems to sidestep the horror comedy angle, while giving us none of the genre in-referencing that Roth did. Aside from an ultra-brief opening credits appearance from Rider Strong, Giuseppe Andrews is the only returnee from Cabin Fever. In the first film, his appearance was side-splitting but here he only plays the role straight. And that seems a fatal miscuing of the tone of the original film.